Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sorry everyone! I know its been a very long time since an update, but of course – the internet has been again down for weeks. This is the first time I’ve had access to the internet since Italy. Many thanks to Karen for posting for me and keep you slightly updated, with pretty pictures.

First of all, the trip was of course amazing. C’mon, what trip to Greece and Italy wouldn’t be amazing? Sure, the flight was painful. Very painful. On the 12 hour flight to Germany from South Africa, I got stuck between two arguing spouses that thought it would be better to bicker over an upcoming birthday than sleep for the entire flight. Apart from that little malady…

Seeing the Jazz band was incredible. Seeing old friends and hearing jazz again brought me closer to home than anything else thus far. Having never been to Greece, I was incredibly excited to see the country. The first day in Greece consisted of a tour of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Much bigger than I expected. Kinda hard here to surmise the emotion and feelings on seeing objects constructed thousands of years ago, in seemingly impossible settings.

Oh, and ill just take this moment to state that one of the best things about this trip, bar none, was the food. Sorry Namibia, but you don’t come close. I made myself sick by overeating Baklava about 3 times. Totally. Worth. It.

For the most part, there were many of us that were actually disappointed with Athens. Not with the ancient arts and architecture mind you, but I’m guessing that it was just too built up and industrialized for our expectations. When we toured the neighboring islands however… Aegina was absolutely gorgeous, and to many – the prettiest town on the whole trip. A self-sustaining island, this is what was in our minds when we thought of Greece. Poplar and olive groves, modest fishing vessels, with Mom and Pop restaurants all over. (Best Feta cheese ever. Actually – you may want to get used to this. This update may be little more than an overly enthusiastic food review.) A wonderful day trip.

Over the next few days we traveled around Greece and performed in several places. We saw the temple of Poseidon, which was my personal favorite. Oh, and on one of our days off, Jimmy, Evan, and I went swimming and stepped on sea urchins. To this day, I still have some of the quills in my foot.

Katie, I know you’re reading this. Just letting you know, that Evan and I were heroes. Truly. The way we looked at it, we prevented the entire band from being attacked from ferocious blood thirsty sea urchins. Evan got the worst of it, but we made up for it later by drinking copious amounts of Ouzo and ordering sea urchin salad for lunch. Revenge is a dish best served delicious.

The next day was spent lavishing on a recliner on the deck of a cruise ship. With more ouzo of course. Nothing like the Mediterranean.

And of course, arriving in Venice was a whole other matter. My beloved Italy. How much I love thee. Seeing my wonderful parents and my beautiful Karen after 8 months -definitely the highlight of my trip. It was fantastic to walk with them among the alleys and channels of Venice, stopping off at every Trattoria for a sandwich and/or calzone. For the record, I spent about 300€ on the entire trip, every euro on food and or wine. Life is good.

We were given some time off over the next couple days, so my parents, Karen, Greg and I decided to travel to the neighboring islands of Murano and Burano. For those that don’t know, Murano and Burano are world renowned islands, specializing in glassware and laced goods, respectively. For those that know of the Venetian glassblowers, Murano is the big cheese of them all. And my mother bought a dress in Burano. Very pretty.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to end. However, it’s good to see that not all good things end at one time. The band left Italy some days before we did, so we had the absolute wonderful pleasure of going to my all time favorite, Florence. If I could live in any city of my choosing for the rest of my life, it would be Firenze. Traveling there with Karen was an incredible experience. It was completely beyond my believing that I was currently in my favorite city of Earth, with the beautiful woman I love, with the company of my parents…and that in three days time I would be back in my little niche of the world in the middle of the desert.

The following day Karen and my parents left Venice, and left me alone in my beloved Italy. As to what I did in Italy completely alone and by myself for a day, well…that’s another story entirely.

The one bad thing about the story – my computer hard drive failed. My computer is currently somewhere in the world, traveling in a box destined to my family’s home in New York. Alas, it’s been 21 days with no word – it’s probably somewhere in Eastern Europe by now.

So there’s my Greece and Italy story – not altogether complete and exciting, but it’s the truth, and hopefully makes up for the fact that I haven’t updated in a month.

If you’d like to help, you are more than welcome to donate to the “Help Nick Install Internet at Home” Fund.

Cheers, N

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hey Everyone!

Karen here, giving a quick update for Nick...

As I’m sure many of you have guessed, Nick has been without internet since he got back from Europe, and he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to make his next post... here’s hoping it’s sometime in the near future. *fingers crossed* And to make matters worse, a gang of angry dik-diks attacked Nick and his laptop upon his arrival back to Namibia. They came out of nowhere and cornered him. First he tried to fight them off with a stick, then he threw his shoe, then he sang a little Phil Collins hoping that deep down they were lovers and not fighters. Luckily Nick escaped unharmed, but his laptop didn’t fare so well. It is currently somewhere between Africa and the US on its way to be fixed at Best Buy. If only they had Best Buys in the African desert.

Thanks to everyone for sending letters and packages. They really make living so far away a lot easier. Special shout outs to Nancy and Kristen for sending super awesome packages. And Nancy, you sent him root beer? Seriously? You’re my hero, and I’m sure his too.

Let’s see, Europe = amazing. Compared to making sand castles in the desert and eating bugs, Nick absolutely loved having a two week respite in Greece and Italy. Hanging out with the jazz band, getting to see me and his parents, great food, amazing sights...really now, what more could a guy ask for? I promised to post a few of Nick’s pics from Italy, but I’ll leave it to him to write a more detailed post about the jazz tour and everything he's been up to since then when he gets the interwebs back.
A pretty shot of Venice and one of its many bridges.

Another shot of buildings along a canal in Venice.

St. Mark's Basilica in the Piazza San Marco.

Nick happy to be in Venice surrounded by pigeons.

Gburg College Jazz band performing in Santa Margarita Square, Venice.

Nick, Jimmy and I... too special for our own good.

Nick's awesome parents dressed up outside the Ca' Del Sol mask shop in Venice.

Gotta love laundry hanging to dry throughout the city.

Nick and I walking to the Duomo in Florence.

Nick, his dad and I outside part of the Duomo.

An overcast day, but still a nice view of Florence taken from the top of the Duomo.

Nick and I in Florence. Yay Italy!

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Nick just wanted to let everyone know that he's alive and not just ignoring his blog or email. Maybe the internet gods will smile on him again soon. Until then, if anyone would like to make a donation to the Keep Nick Sane in Africa Fund, letters, movies, books, phone calls and whatever else are always appreciated. :-) His contact info is still:


Nick sends his love and misses you all!